According to this story on MLB.com, Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, the 21-year-old free agent who throws 100 miles an hour, is auditioning for the Yankees and other interested teams in Houston on Tuesday. Will he live up to the hype? Or will he underwhelm everybody, as he did in his last stint with the Cuban team in the WBC?
One thing is certain: he’s not ready for the majors. He’ll need seasoning and won’t be slotted into anybody’s starting rotation right away. He’s got the obligatory diamond stud earrings though, ready or not.
Obviously, I don’t have a clue whether the Yankees will sign Chapman or for how much. We’ve had mixed results with Cuban pitchers. Contreras was an expensive flop. I still get nightmares whenever I think of him walking batters, serving up bombs, and looking distraught in the process.
I also remember him sweating more profusely than any ballplayer alive. I always wanted to reach through the TV and towel him off.
Thinking the problem might be loneliness, Cashman and the Yankees finagled a way for him to be reunited with his family here in the States.
It didn’t do any good, and before long Jose was shipped off to the White Sox. He won a World Series with Chicago but has since been traded to the Rockies. He and New York weren’t a match – unlike Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who owned the city for awhile.
I remember vividly when El Duque defected from Cuba and arrived in the Bronx. I’d never seen anybody like him.
I mean, can you contort into that position? Only if you’re a pretzel.
Sure, he was hot tempered, and he and Jorge got into it on occasion. And sure, no one really knew how old he was.
But there was a time when he was pure magic for the Yankees – the toast of the town. It’s saying something when a major sporting goods company produces a TV commercial in your honor starring David Cone. (Love the cameo by Luis Sojo).
Does Chapman have the potential to be an El Duque? Or will he follow the trajectory of Contreras? This is why GMs, not bloggers, make the big bucks.